Time for one of those random thoughts/updates pieces. Too much rattling around in my head to put 800 words to any of it, and I just need to do some housecleaning in my head.
First, my new book “Pornography and the Pandemic: How Three Months in 2020 Changed Everything” is still scheduled to be released on July 5. I think it may bump to July 6, since that’s a Monday. We had to change the secondary headline from when I last told you about the project because the publisher was leery of a book title with both “Pandemic” and “COVID-19” in the title since some online booksellers are rejecting items with too many references to the virus. I guess it stems from people trying to sell non-book products that claim to help cure the coronavirus. That’s fine with me. I can see the new secondary title as more exciting, but wonder if putting the year in it will help or hurt.
I’ve got to start working on the marketing of the book, but it’s a little challenging. It’s told in first person, but it’s far more of a journalistic-style book that I think will be interesting to a wide audience than either of my first books…but I’m not exactly sure how to tell the world about it with my marketing budget of $0. It’s also strange because there was 22 months between the release of my first two books and only 5 months between the second and third. Last year at this time, I largely took the summer off from this blog and writing, going on a nice road trip. The virus halted most sales of my second book in its tracks because the bulk were going to libraries at that point. I’ve noticed it pick up a little bit as libraries become semi-active, but I think that second book would have sold hundreds of more copies if not for people’s attention, and their lives, being so disrupted by the virus. A library isn’t going to buy a book if it’s not open until further notice. I believe the new book is going to be much less expensive than the first two, but I’m just the writer… I learn a lot of these things when I see it for sale for the first time. I hope you’ll support me and I’ll share more when I know.
I’m trying to calm myself a bit from the anger and frustration I’ve been feeling dealing with and seeing so many ignorant people on television and online regarding both the virus and the changes happening, and being pushed for, regarding race in this country. There’s a balancing act between recognizing as one person I really can’t do much, but just because that’s true doesn’t mean I should do nothing. I’m just hoping that the polls I’m seeing regarding November’s elections end up as true. We’ve given the current administration more than three years to make America great again. They actually went in the other direction. I think Joe Biden’s campaign slogan should just be, “Make America like it was before Trump took over, then we’ll work on the greatness thing.”
My frustration comes from people believing that they don’t have to follow either commonsense guidelines or actual laws because they believe there is some “Constitutional guarantee” they don’t have to wear a mask. There isn’t. I think this is a combination of politics, people needing to feel rebellious and untreated mental illness at work. I just feel bad for the people who try to do the right things and get the virus have to battle for the same hospital beds as those who flaunted and ignored scientific wisdom. Science says the sun will rise tomorrow. Do you not believe it until you see it? People need to remember that science is neither a religion nor a political party. It’s the best collection of provable data we have — even if you don’t like the results. With the race issue, the statistics that prove its obviously a problem are just being ignored by people who would rather argue about knocking over a statue in some Virginia or Alabama park. Who cares about these statues? Black people are dying because of the color of their skin and sick people are dying because people don’t want to treat the pandemic as serious. It’s more important they be able to workout in a gym or get a burger. Great priorities.
So here’s kind of a weird story. A couple of weeks back, on June 13, I got a nice notecard in the mail from my mother’s best friend, Gwen. They were paired as college roommates and share the exact same birthday. You’ve never met two more different people and I think Gwen’s flighty and illogical life choices sometimes frustrated my mother. Depending on where Gwen was living, we’d see her three or four times a year when I was growing up. When I was in jail, Gwen wrote a couple letters that were really quite touching and I wrote a few back. That correspondence never would have happened had I not done time and since I was released four years ago, we’ve exchanged letters once or twice a year. I think I saw her twice, but it may have only been once since I was released.
It was just a typical check-in note, but she mentioned that she had finally got a phone that could do texting — which I’m guessing she’s had for years but just finally realized it. She gave her new number and I texted her two days later on June 15, but heard nothing back. I didn’t follow-up. Yesterday, which was June 29, my mom called me and told me that Gwen was found dead in her apartment on June 20. Gwen’s son was under the belief his mother had gone on one of her little coastal retreats, but when she didn’t contact him upon returning he eventually had the police in her town do a wellness check, where she’d had a heart attack…on the day I received her note.
I feel very bad for my mother. She lost her brother, who was her other best friend in January, and now Gwen. It seems like she and my father, who were very well known in our area since they were school teachers for nearly 40 years each in the same town, have been going to a lot of funerals lately. It’s mainly for their former colleagues or some of their friends, but I can see their own mortality has been weighing on them a bit. I now know where all the important papers they have are, what the will says and in the next few weeks, they’re paying for their funeral expenses. With my uncle gone, I was given power of attorney should they both be unable to make decisions. They’re approaching their mid-70s, so they could theoretically still have 20 years each left in them, but it’s been a different kind of vibe lately.
I noticed a little bit of that vibe changing when my 20-year-old daughter, 17-year-old son, and 72-year-old dad all went zip lining in Massachusetts the other day. We needed to go do something outdoors and fun and my son and dad have never done it before. Ten years ago, my dad would have been planning our next trip. After the two miles of zip lines and mile of hiking through the mountains between the various zip lines, he said he never had to do it again. Of course, he finished just fine. I was the one who forgot to bring water, overheated and had a pretty serious case of the dry heaves between lines five and six…but we won’t talk about it. I’m sure my kids also thought, “Dad is getting old” when they saw I needed to take a break and wretch into the woods.
Finally, I’ve teased that I’m involved in something big and could change the trajectory of my porn addiction education quest. I got word from the powerful overseers that I will be able to announce what I’m talking about next week.
Enjoy the Fourth of July. Wear a mask.